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Weatherly mulls $10M construction

Weatherly District School Board will vote during tonight’s meeting on whether architectural engineering firm EI Associates will take the next step with proposed renovations or complete an elementary and high school building swap.

During a Nov. 14 presentation, Brad Reming, managing director from the Harrisburg-based engineering firm told the board about a few options ranging from the repairs to the switch.

The engineering company proposed a plan to switch prekindergarten through fifth grade with the high school grades. Moving the elementary students to the building across the street and educating the higher-grade students with the middle classes for grades six through 12.

Work on the elementary would be $1.07 million, with the high school work at $8.5 million.

Parents of elementary students voiced concerns on the swapping concept on a Weatherly Facebook page.

The firm stated advantages for the switch will be a smaller community for elementary school students, pre-K and kindergarten will be on the lower level with cafeteria, art, music, gym and play areas; and in larger spaces than at the current elementary school.

According to the report, the sizes of rooms and core areas are more appropriate and typical for elementary school of similar size and capacity; fenced-in play area for primary grades; no crossover of older students at elementary school; layout of building is simple (not as mazelike as in the middle school); and while the high school is considered more secure and less exposed than the K-5 play areas.

The firm also proposed a prioritized list of repairs and renovations for both buildings ranging between removal and replacement of the gym floor for $233,100 versus replacing the wood patching in on the gym floor and refinishing it for $62,000.

Another big-ticket item, replacing the old bleachers with plastic motorized bleachers that are ADA compliant seating at $250,000, compared to replacing the bleachers and Installing nonmotorized bleachers for $200,000.

The costs according to EI are based on recent estimated costs from recently bid projects in 2017.

Security update options proposed included for the elementary/middle school building will include the replacement of light poles and new parking lot site lighting.

New door hardware with security locks. Two new security vestibules with security hardware and bulletproof transaction window. A consolidation of administration as main gatekeeper for the visitors’ entrance and parent drop-off at the elementary school building. Replace underground oil tanks with aboveground tanks. Replace concrete steps at rear of current elementary building. Install new emergency lighting and new fire alarm system with lower pull stations.

Even the replacement of shag wall carpet in the music suite is on the list of updates. The building’s plumbing fixtures will be replaced along with the piping and insulation. The water heater and main switchboard along with a new emergency generator.

The study suggested “optional” updates as well, including a new six-lane rubber latex track that would cost just shy of $1 million.

Included in the optional updates are adding drainage to the soccer field, high jump and pole vault areas.

The total project cost is $10.64 million.

The board will vote on the proposed option at the meeting tonight at 7 o’clock in the middle school building.